Illinois preschoolers were allegedly forced to stand naked in closet as punishment

A pair of Illinois teachers were placed on administrative leave in light of accusations that preschool students were forced to stand in a closet naked as a form of punishment. 

A teacher allegedly carried out this discipline while leading a Head Start program operated by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis, according to KMOV4, a local news affiliate


SIUE police Chief Kevin Schmoll told the station that criminal action and "some charges" could result from its findings.

"Children would misbehave in class and the teacher would have them disrobe and stand them, make them stand inside a closet for five or 10 minutes as their discipline," Schmoll said. "Then they would redress and join the class."

Schmoll said this form of punishment had been carried out since February and that four of the 20 students in the class were forced to take off their clothing after misbehaving. The students were between the ages of 4 and 5. 

Police were notified about the accusations last week, according to KMOV4. 

The teacher accused of punishing students in an inappropriate way is 26 and has worked as a teacher with Head Start for three years, police told the news station. A second teacher, who has been with the program for five years, was also placed on leave for allegedly seeing the punishment and failing to report it. 

KMOV4 noted that the charges could be filed after children are interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Belleville, Ill.

-Updated 6:08 p.m.